Klinsmann’s WCQ Keepers: The Depth Charts

•(Editor’s note: The dearth of content lately is temporary–a little burnt out and we’ve lost some writers recently. A quick recharge before we dive full board into qualifying and more. Thanks for the understanding.)

Welcome back Championship Tim?

Tuesday should bring about the first wave of Jurgen Klinsmann’s World Cup qualifying roster. Klinsmann has stated that he’ll call as many as 29 before cutting weight to the necessary qualifying levels.

An abbreviated depth chart here from what to expect as the Kaiser rolls into qualifying.

First some notes:

• You may–but you probably won’t–see the absolute best players

Early in CONCACAF World Cup Qualifying presents the opportunity to build some chemistry and look at some young players perhaps. Not everyone can play in the qualifiers and, like a club team, role players are needed. Players who understand that they may or may not get a call into the game.

A player like Michael Parkhurst–Central American reps, team player–is valuable during qualifying. A player like CJ Sapong who hasn’t set foot on the pitch in CONCACAF but once just north of the Panama Canal probably can gain more from MLS reps if he is not going to play a armful of minutes.

• You won’t see many surprises

Klinsmann is a believer in the system…in the depth charts. Players sit in a hierarchy on a per position basis. A player like Andrew Wooten or a Joe Corona stands less of a shot if they haven’t seen the inside of the senior side locker room.

• ….but there are some exceptions to every rule

Some put Corona in that bucket. In my pail is Alfredo Morales who looked pristine in covering the midfield for the U-23’s early this year. Does Freddy Adu get rewarded–per chance–for captaining the U-23’s?

The picks:

G: Tim Howard, Nick Rimando, Brad Guzan

The skinny: Hard not to consider Rimando the second in command, especially when you consider his success during CONCACAF club ball and his strength in both coming of his line and playing the ball out of the back. With Bill Hamid not up to the senior level task, a rusty Brad Guzan makes it.

Salivating at Fabian running through the unfriendly confines of Central America?

DEF: Carlos Bocanegra, Oguchi Onyewu, Clarence Goodson, Tim Ream, Michael Parkhurst, Steve Cherundolo, Tim Chandler, Fabian Johnson, Eric Lichaj, Geoff Cameron

The skinny: Onyewu is back in form and Klinsmann raves about his athleticism. Geoff Cameron has been poor to start the year–but to this eye he looks more unchallenged than anything else. Which Tim Real will show up?

MID: Clint Dempsey, Michael Bradley, Jose Torres, Maurice Edu, Kyle Beckerman, Jermaine Jones, Brek Shea, Landon Donovan, Alfredo Morales

The skinny: The only surprise here is Morales who can also fill in in tHe back. Morales has more upside than Jonathan Spector and presents the same versatility.

FWD: Jozy Altidore, Chris Wondolowski, Terrence Boyd, Herculez Gomez

The skinny: Will Klinsmann only opt for a one of Wondolowksi and Gomez? Probably not with the expansive batch of invites being sent out. Boyd proved he belonged by operating as the lone forward for the U-23’s and still finding the net.

Part of the roster due Tuesday.

60 responses to this post.

  1. The only disagreement is Wondo deserving a spot.
    Yes, I KNOW he’s been on fire with the Quakes, but he’s had a few chances to show his value at the international level, and he’s demonstrated he can’t hack it.

    Adu was dynamic in the gold cup, and has shown his work ethic and maturity (hand in hand?) are much improved. I’d MUCH rather see Freddy than Wondo.


    • Posted by justin on 2012/05/14 at 10:56 PM

      i think we can bring in wondo… if we can find some wing players who are actually in form to provide some service to him. We don’t need him but maybe to poach a goal in the last 15-20 mins if we are down against guatemala. we don’t need him to win against brazil or scotland…

      however in the grand scheme of things freddy might be a better piece to the puzzle if we needed something other than a late goal.


    • Posted by Jared on 2012/05/15 at 6:20 AM

      Completely agree on Wondo. It’s a been there done that situation with him and guys of similar level in MLS like Twellman. These guys aren’t making the jump.


    • Posted by schmutzdeck on 2012/05/15 at 9:55 AM

      Wondo is Clint’s backup, especially now that Clint is hurt.

      You are right he’s only had a few looks. He has looked good for the USMNt; he has just been unlucky not to score. He gets on before Adu.

      Adu might get on if JK leaves off Donovan, which he should.


  2. Posted by justin on 2012/05/14 at 10:48 PM

    I agree with all of these except for morales and maybe terrence boyd. morales: he did not even keep his club spot, and we already have a plethora of FBs and DMs.

    I would like to see in their place
    -chris pontius (a legitimate wing option especially in the 4-3-3),
    -maybe freddy (still has not proved it for a full 90 at the club level),
    -maybe kljestan (but i don’t think klinsi has the hots for him)…
    -i think corona is a longer shot but there are not many other players who have his skill set playing in a top division (but i would still take adu over him)

    i hope klinsmann brings in someone who can play as a (right) winger, because I think we have seen how shallow we are at that spot on the field (especially with shea’s drop in form and whatever is up with donovan during international friendlies), as well as a legitimate back up to jozy. The last thing we need to do is bring in and t


    • Posted by justin on 2012/05/14 at 10:49 PM

      the last thing we need to do is bring in someone to cover a spot at DM in Morales.


      • Posted by PanchoMiguelMoralesdeConejo on 2012/05/15 at 8:59 AM

        I think the argument being made is Klinsmann will blood a young DM in this camp and I too am bullish on Morales. I’d agree it would be a bit of a ‘flyer’ at this point, and DM is NOT where we need coverage, but following the logic of the article the pick would make sense.

        I personally think it’ll be Castillo and not Parkhurst in this mix in the back.


        • Posted by Ufficio on 2012/05/15 at 9:02 AM

          Castillo tweeted that he’s on his way to Orlando, so we can surmise that he’s in.


          • Posted by matthewsf on 2012/05/15 at 9:29 AM

            Welcome back unbalanced formation.


            • Posted by dth on 2012/05/15 at 9:39 AM

              Unbalanced formation:Klinsmann::empty bucket:Bradley. Discuss.

            • Posted by matthewsf on 2012/05/15 at 10:11 AM

              Disagree their dth, no disrespect.

              Bradley’s formation was often a funnel and stick as I would call it. Michael Bradley would play advanced in front of… Jermaine Jones or Ricardo Clark, Mo Edu and look to force the advancing player into a tackle from the guy behind him.

              What was perhaps the biggest area of neglect during the Bradley reign was the communication with and line drawn by the back-4 versus the vertical defense of Bradley and partner. That and Bradley would often over-pursue, leaving the man behind with typically more than one player to defend on the break.

              Two notorious examples of this were the Gold Cup Final debacle where Bradley and Jones were stretched beyond believe and the 2nd goal versus Slovenia.

              As for Klinsmann, I find his strategies…interesting. he typically pushes the left side…whether it be to protect the rear left or merely try and create space for Dempsey to come right (or even the player in the “7” role). What’s at odds is that Klinsmann puts his “chase” central defender on the right, not the left (probabaly due to personnel). Orozco-Fiscal or even a Goodson. You clearly *don’t* want Boca pushed up and attempting to link and provide offense on the left, but still.

              Maybe he’s relying on having the #8 be Torres and occupy that role. Who knows.

              As for defensively, it’s why JK loves Beckerman. he’s so sharp at knowing when to funnel, tackle or foul. I’m not sure if this ever becomes Michael Bradley’s role, but it may. I think I see Bradley as more of a 7 or maybe outside the unbalanced set. All fun to ponder for qualifying.

              Thanks for getting the tactical juices going again.

            • Posted by Antonio Henry on 2012/05/16 at 5:48 PM

              that’s what our best XI looks like IMO according to Klinnsy

    • Posted by KickinNames... on 2012/05/15 at 7:22 AM

      Does Boyd come in as the Jozy role? I have to admit, I wasn’t impressed with what I saw of him in a brief sub role but many here seem to think he can be a hold up beast. Which is what Jozy refuses to be….


      • Posted by Union on 2012/05/15 at 11:05 AM

        Huh? Boyd single handedly kept the US U-23s in the El Savador game? He has played all of 10-15 minutes at the senior level.


  3. Posted by BernieBernier on 2012/05/15 at 5:08 AM

    I think we will see more of a 4-3-3 gicing the opponents or at least a much more offensive player (Torres maybe) in the 2 of a 4-2-3-1.

    That said looking at it as a 4-2-3-1 the roster above has way too many defensive D-Mids for my liking (not judging the article as it is trying to approximate what JK will do). Bradley, Beckerman, Morales, Jones, Edu are all really 6’s in a 4-3-3. That leaves only Dempsey and Torress in the 8 and 10 role respectively. Personally I would like to see someone like Sasha who plays a offensive minded D-Mid (he plays in a 4-2-3-1 but plays more as an 8) and a Mixx (as an 8) or Freddy (as a 10) instead of two of these 6’s to give the roster some balance.


  4. Posted by BernieBernier on 2012/05/15 at 5:13 AM

    Another interesting thing I am watching….

    Can Lichaj take the LB position from Fabian allowing him to take over for Shea as LF? While I like Shea I think he could benefit from some competition. He isn’t in the Boca, Dempsey, Howard, Jozy, Landon, ink their names on the line-up card level yet.


    • Posted by KickinNames... on 2012/05/15 at 6:05 AM

      Lichaj continues to look like a beast- in -training at either of the backs. It’s nice to head into qualifying with Chandler and Lichaj, Cherundolo etc as our options at back. Agreed that Shea seems to need a push and Johnson is a great option to have at LF.

      Heres hoping that Gooch is approaching all the way back as his on form abilities make them a tougher D in the box. Could that also make a way for Ream in the Boca replacement CB role? Reams weakness in the air is compensated for by Gooch and vs versa in distribution….also cannot underrate having real LB/RB distribution and defending options in helping Ream to get settled in that role. I truly have appreciated Boca’s tenure as a stabiliizing leader for yrs now but his limitations are becoming too much of a liability.

      Also really looking forward (some pun intended) to Mikey with trustworthy wide/forward options in LD, Demps etc in his post Chievo form. His vastly upgraded skillset and composure vs Italy was a very pleasant surprise and just what the doctor ordered to give some stability in the DMF holding role.

      Starting to get a bit irrational in my exuberance here))))….
      Matt- as usual good starter look in and hope that Klinsi starts to show results in matches that matter.


    • Posted by Jared on 2012/05/15 at 6:22 AM

      I really hope Lichaj gets a shot at left back. Shea isn’t ready on a consistent basis to be the starter at left mid/wing and Fabian Johnson is a much better player. I think Johnson gets the start in midfield with either Lichaj or Chandler as the left back. Either option would be better than Shea again. He’s just not performing like he did last year.


  5. Posted by Crow on 2012/05/15 at 5:48 AM

    I looked at the roster and thought-that’s about right… but where are the new names? Its May 2012 and nobody new is really breaking into the team during this cycle still.


    • Posted by BernieBernier on 2012/05/15 at 5:51 AM

      Tail end of the stage. My hope is that we have sailed through and the September rosters look much different. Then it will be up to those players to stick or not. You don’t experiment out of the gate and then risk the oh my god we might not qualify for the next round scenario.


      • Posted by Alan on 2012/05/15 at 6:22 AM

        I agree with this. Also, if we define “new players” as those who weren’t in any real contention for the last WC, I count 8 out of 26 on this list (Ream, Chandler, Lichaj, Cameron, F Johnson; Shea, Morales; Boyd), which seems pretty good for this stage in the cycle.


    • Posted by dth on 2012/05/15 at 6:33 AM

      Define “new.”


      • Posted by Crow on 2012/05/15 at 7:02 AM

        I would define new as players who didn’t have a large part or a part at all in the 2010 World Cup and qualifiers. Obviously some of the German-Americans weren’t there but that’s about it. Again, I agree you just need to take care of qualifying with the best available roster… what I’m trying to get to is that none of the young guys are forcing themselves into the team. I find that a bit worrisome.


        • Posted by Berniebernier on 2012/05/15 at 7:45 AM

          I think we have a lot of new players since 2010 WC. Maybe not in the starting 11 yet but of the names listed above I count 12 of the 26 listed as new. Not bad. That includes what I suspect will be 3 of the starting 11 come the first qualifier (Chandler, Fabian, Shea)


        • Posted by dth on 2012/05/15 at 7:46 AM

          Lichaj, Ream, Cameron, Beckerman, Shea are non-Germamericans who are new from 2010. Mostly tilted towards defenders, as you can tell.

          I think you’ll see less youth breaking in so early at the national team level as time goes on and the game matures.


        • Posted by Jared on 2012/05/15 at 7:53 AM

          I think right now there is a bit of a gap between the full team and younger players that are going to push their way into the team. There are quite a few guys in the 19-23 range that are all probably just a step below getting into the squad.

          One thing to remember that with the exception of defense where Boca and Dolo are older the rest of the team is either in the prime years (Dempsey, Donovan, Jones) or not even to the prime yet (Edu, MB90, Jozy, Chandler, Williams, Fabian Johnson, Lichaj). I think that more than anything else is what is holding back some of the younger players. Guys like Corona, Gatt, Boyd and Mix are just going to have to continue to develop before becoming crucial parts of a team that has a good mix of veterans and younger players. I’m not sure any of them are needed to break through this cycle.


          • Posted by dth on 2012/05/15 at 8:10 AM

            I think Corona, Gatt and Mix can contribute to the team.

            Corona is a versatile, creative attacking option who can play anywhere in the “3” of a 4-2-3-1. Mix is better than Torres at that #8 hub spot–now that Edu’s hubbub has lessened, Torres is probably the most overrated player in the pool right now. Gatt brings speed to the table, and I’d argue that’s the biggest weakness in the attacking pool right now. (Who’s the speed option in this roster? Donovan? He’s lost a step for sure).

            Whether they should be on the roster is another question, but you can certainly make a case for any of the three (well, the Mix case is kind of weak. But I regard the Torres case as weaker. Like Kljestan did, Torres needs to challenge himself by moving abroad.)


            • Posted by Jared on 2012/05/15 at 8:34 AM

              I think they can contribute as well but I don’t think we’ll see much from them for a while especially for Gatt (he seems to be getting injured too often right now as well). I think Torres stays over Mix partially because of his heritage which I think would make Corona the more likely of the 3 to play. Klinsmann has made it very clear that he wants to bring in more Latinos both verbally and by his actions with guys like Castillo and Orozco getting in when clearly they are not good enough.

              Why would Torres move abroad when he’s already way ahead of Kljestan in the national team?

            • Posted by dth on 2012/05/15 at 8:58 AM

              This is a personal opinion, but Torres will never realize his full pro potential unless he challenges himself in a high-tempo environment. The geography and climate of Mexico make intensive pressing unadvisable; intensive pressing IS the modern soccer game. This is why the USMNT was able to take apart an entire generation of Mexican players until they started to move abroad at a young age.

        • Posted by mathmatics on 2012/05/15 at 8:10 AM

          We weren’t all that old in 2010. Howard, Bradley, Edu, Donovan, Dempsey and Altidore were always looking good for 2014. We’ve added Jones, Johnson, Chandler, Williams, Lichaj, Shea. That’s half a roster between the two groups.

          The backline was the only piece that needed a major overhaul. Demerit and Bornstein have already been phased out and it’s possible we’ll see Boca and Cherundolo pass the mantle over the during qualification.

          No reason to rush the 17-22 year old set in based on limited observations. They’ll weed themselves out or earn their call ups based on professional play over the next eighteen months.


          • Posted by Crow on 2012/05/15 at 12:44 PM

            It is true- Ive been looking forward to 2014 since 2008 as “the year” to really make a mark at the World Cup because alot of players would be in their prime.

            I guess it would just be nice to see some “young phenoms” waiting in the wings a la Donovan and Beasley in 2002 forcing their way onto the scene.


  6. Posted by dth on 2012/05/15 at 6:31 AM

    Still think it’s the politician in Klinsmann that keeps Torres in the team, especially over Kljestan.


    • Posted by dth on 2012/05/15 at 6:34 AM

      Also, I prefer Sapong to Boyd though admittedly I haven’t seen Sapong play recently.


      • Posted by John F on 2012/05/15 at 7:51 AM

        Boyd is going to be a beast…he looked FANTASTIC in the El Salvador Olympic qualifier. I would take him over Sapong 24 hours a day, 7 days a week…


  7. Posted by djpeisner on 2012/05/15 at 6:50 AM

    Pretty much on the money here, I think, with one major exception: I’ll be very surprised if Cameron and Morales get chosen over Spector, who can play just about anywhere on the field, has experience doing it at the international level and played very well both in spot duty vs. Italy and during the 2011-12 campaign with B’ham. Also, Kljestan certainly deserves a spot but seems to have taken up early residence in Jurgen’s doghouse so I won’t be shocked when he’s left out, and Beasley has done enough to merit consideration (over Torres or Beckerman, maybe), especially considering the uncertain state of our troops at wide midfield. Lastly, don’t be surprised to see Edgar Castillo included, despite being, well, not particularly good.


  8. Posted by KickinNames... on 2012/05/15 at 7:17 AM

    And Agudelo drops completely out here? Someone to push Jozy? anyone to push Jozy? We all know Jozy needs a push…

    I still think Gomez is a better pure poacher option than Wondolowski and have been surprised at his lack of inclusion in the past few yrs.

    Beasley could be an interesting option out left to balance out Donovan AND actually stay wide. Although he seems to have hit a plateau, I think Shea has suffered from having Demps. Altidore and Donovan (although not as much LD in 2011) who all tend to cut in from wide. But have to agree that Fabian J merits a strong run out to both push Shea in his development and frankly stabiliize and balance the left side.

    Really starting to like the overall volume of true player options especially in the back. Somebody talk me down…quickly…dth….!!!


    • Posted by dth on 2012/05/15 at 7:51 AM

      Jozy’s push is coming at AZ.

      In terms of the team and its options: it does look like there are a variety of options at the current time. That said, I’m uncomfortable with how old the attacking options skew (aside from Altidore, the young forward on the roster is Boyd who’s never played a first-team game) and that there’s a bunch of roughly-similar-quality guys. Juggling lots of options is difficult for most managers–in sports as in life, sometimes you can have too many options.


    • Posted by SamT on 2012/05/15 at 2:01 PM

      I’m a little uncomfortable with the lack of speed of Boca + Onyewu in the middle of our defense — and this limits our ability to play the high line, dictate tempo, and press the attack — but I’m probably even more uncomfortable with the understudies seeing significant minutes in a qualifier.

      So can we more than compensate for the inevitable central defensive breakdowns with 1. superior goalkeeping, and 2. superior goalscoring of our own? I think we can.

      Then we reevaluate for the hex.


  9. Posted by Ufficio on 2012/05/15 at 8:07 AM

    What’s the hold up with this roster? Doesn’t camp start today?


  10. Posted by Berniebernier on 2012/05/15 at 8:07 AM

    As an aside… The “Hitman” is reported that Boyd is being linked to a second division Bundesliga team. I have no idea what to make of it but it doesn’t seem like a good sign.


    • Posted by Ufficio on 2012/05/15 at 8:14 AM

      It could be a very good sign. First-team experience is exactly what he needs.


      • Posted by dth on 2012/05/15 at 8:56 AM

        Exactly. There was about a 1% chance he’d stick with Borussia Dortmund. With Lewandowski as a starter and Ducksch as the up-and-coming youth, Boyd was squeezed.

        He’ll have a chance to prove himself against men.


      • Posted by Berniebernier on 2012/05/15 at 9:00 AM

        Yes but second division is not a great step forward. If it was a loan I would feel better but if Dortmund is giving up on him and no Bundesliga team is interested that is a problem.


        • Posted by dth on 2012/05/15 at 9:32 AM

          I would’ve been very surprised if a Bundesliga team were interested. He’s done precisely nothing at a decent level. Keep in mind he’s playing in the fourth division of German soccer, in an environment in which he’s often one of the older players involved. Dortmund giving up on him is expected–they play a lone striker formation and have a young striker coming up who’s got a big upside. I see this as a natural move.


          • Posted by Union on 2012/05/15 at 11:09 AM

            DTH, you love sobering us up to the German players. But I think you go overboard with Boyd in terms of the rhetoric. I agree in that its not a huge surprise he isn’t getting a HUGE amount of interest from Bundesliga teams given he hasn’t proven himself at a 1st team. But when you say he has done precisely nothing at a decent level, you are implying that he has had the opportunity to do so. Which as we both know is completely untrue. What is true? What is true is that Boyd has dominated at every level so far. Prove me wrong there.


            • Posted by dth on 2012/05/15 at 11:22 AM

              Well, it’s a variation of the old catch-22: don’t have experience, can’t get job; can’t get job, don’t get experience, etc. Nevertheless it remains that Boyd hasn’t gotten experience. I’m interested and excited to see what he’ll do, but that’s a different question from including him on the senior team (which I don’t think is correct) and being bullish overall on his career. He’s a good prospect, but not a great one, I think.

            • Posted by Berniebernier on 2012/05/15 at 11:48 AM

              I have a hard time believing that there isn’t a bottom of the table team that would take a chance on a young striker. Its not like he is commanding a large fee. That means that their scouts think that he can’t cut it at that level now or in the future.

              Sorry for being all pesimistic but I had hopes of him going on loan to a bottom of the table side. Huge difference between that and walking free to a second division team.

            • Posted by Union on 2012/05/15 at 12:00 PM

              While I am fairly high on Boyd, the one thing that gives me pause (and lends credence to DTH’s opinion on his ceiling) is that at 21, he is lighting up Dortmund’s reserve team side without getting many (or any chances) at the senior level. Now, as has been discussed above, part of this is due to the obvious..Dortmund is incredibly good and very talented up front…why would anyone in their right mind give Boyd minutes w/ the young attacking talent they already have? The other part of it is is that Boyd’s strengths don’t really fit into Dortmund’s system. But part of me wonders if scouts/coaches don’t view his skills as translating well when faced with the best competition in the world. Again, I could be way off and I’m not familiar with how reserve teams work in Germany in terms of development. But it seems that a 21 year old with his numbers would have been given a chance.

            • Posted by Berniebernier on 2012/05/15 at 12:04 PM

              I agree 100% with you Union. I would think that even if he wasn’t give a chance someone else would take a chance on him. I loved him at the U-23 and in part because it was Dortmund I overhyped him (lets just say if he was in the reserves for Blackburn I wouldn’t be this excited). Where he moves will be very illustrative of how he should be valued.

  11. Posted by Excellency on 2012/05/15 at 8:20 AM

    I think it is great that we brought Boyd on board so far but saying that he “found the net” without any help in U-23 as lone forward doesn’t encourage me at all as criterion for USMNT participation. There are some players who just need to get some more club playing time in before having the opportunity to infect the ranks.


    • Posted by Alex on 2012/05/15 at 9:08 AM

      That slippery pass that Adu played for the 2nd was pretty nice. His first goal was excellently taken though


    • Posted by matthewsf on 2012/05/15 at 9:31 AM

      My point on Boyd was that he had to man the top by himself all evening and despite being asked to play hold-up still found the net. That’s something more than Sapong can offer right now.

      I was also impressed with Boyd versus Italy playing within the framework of the game.


  12. Posted by Alex on 2012/05/15 at 9:10 AM

    Just me but I think Beasley has shown a lot down in Mexico. While Shea hasn’t done much (probably has something to do with the injury he had). With Morales being such a random pick for a player who has to compete for probably our deepest position, I’d swap him for a veteran attacking presence like Run DMB


  13. Posted by Union on 2012/05/15 at 12:04 PM

    Boyd’s in (via his twitter). @TBoyd91: Called up for USMNT. Gonna be sick


  14. Posted by Ufficio on 2012/05/15 at 12:08 PM

    It’s being reported that Chandler’s out again. Let the collective freak-out begin.


    • Posted by Berniebernier on 2012/05/15 at 12:26 PM

      Screw it. We can play Lichaj, Dolo, and Fabian. That gives you one RB, one LB and one guy that can play either side. I hope we never call Chandler again. I am fine with dual citizens, I just want you to want to play for the US. See Boyd’s reaction and comments in the past.


  15. Posted by John on 2012/05/15 at 1:41 PM

    No lee Nguyen? Has to be one of best midfielders in mls.


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